Keyboard Instruments in Eighteenth-Century Vienna

Keyboard Instruments in Eighteenth-Century Vienna

Keyboard Instruments in Eighteenth-Century Vienna

Keyboard Instruments in Eighteenth-Century Vienna


Although eighteenth-century Viennese keyboard music, especially by such composers as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, is among the most popular ever written, there has been surprisingly little serious research into the instruments for which it was composed. Consequently myths and guesses abound, while accurate and reliable information is hard to come by. This book fills that gap. Based on evidence from primary source material, much of it previously undiscovered or neglected, Maunder traces the history and development of the various keyboard instruments available in Vienna throughout the eighteenth century--harpsichords, clavichords, and pianos--and their use by composers and performers. There are detailed descriptions of many surviving Viennese instruments, several of which have only recently come to light; contemporary newspaper advertisements for over 1200 keyboard instruments are reproduced, in the original German as well as in English translation; and an alphabetical list of eighteenth-century Viennese makers includes much newly-discovered biographical information as well as some previously unknown names.


The initial stimulus for this book was an invitation by Katalin Komlós to contribute an article on the composer's keyboard instruments to a book on Haydn. the book never materialized, but research for the article showed that the columns of the Wienerisches Diarium contained much previously untapped information. It soon became clear that a systematic search of that newspaper throughout the whole of the eighteenth century would add greatly to our knowledge of Viennese instruments of the time, and of their makers.

By fortunate chance, a number of important Viennese harpsichords and fortepianos have recently come to light. I am greatly indebted to Michael Cole, Alfons Huber, and Michael Latcham for detailed information about these and many other instruments, and to the Holburne Museum, Bath, the Royal College of Music, London, the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, for access to their collections. Several private owners, too, have kindly allowed me to examine their instruments and include descriptions of them in this book; I thank in particular Richard Burnett, Alexander Mackenzie of Ord, and Justin Majzub.

I am very grateful to the following museum curators (as well as Alfons Huber of the Kunsthistorisches Museum) for patiently answering my many letters with all sorts of queries about their instruments, and for supplying photographs: Kurt Birsak (Museum Carolino Augusteum, Salzburg), Bohuslav C+̆+Í+T+̆ek (Nɑ+́+̣rodnÍ Muzeum, Prague), William Dow (Finchcocks Collection, Goudhurst), Monika Jäger (Steiermärkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz), Laurence Libin (Metropolitan Museum, New York), Klaus Martius (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), Konstantin Restle (Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung, Berlin), and Kerstin Schwarz (Händel-Haus Museum, Halle).

Others who have generously provided help and information, often by drawing attention to their books and articles, include Rudolph Angermüfler, Eva Badura-Skoda, John Barnes, Derek Beales, Silke Berdux, Daniel Heartz, David Leigh, Rodger Mirrey, Howard Picton, Martin Püringer, David Rowland, Daniel S+̆piU+-63+̆ka, Gerhard Stradner, Graham Wells, and Denzil Wraight. My apologies to anyone who has inadvert-ently been omitted from this list.

All translations and line drawings are by the author.


Cambridge August 1997 . . .

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